Sending older children back to school after lockdown when you are pregnant

As the government continues to lift restrictions and schools start opening again, some pregnant women with older children are concerned about possible exposure to the virus and what this means for them and their baby. Here, Tommy’s midwife Sophie explains the latest guidance.

10/06/2020

What is the advice for pregnant women with older children attending school/nursery/external childcare?

The UK government advises that if you are pregnant and any other children have been invited back to school, they can go. If you are picking your children up or dropping them off, you are advised to practice social distancing.

Try to stay 2 meters away from teachers, carers and other parents and do not go inside the building. If this is difficult, you could try staggering your child’s drop off and pick up times.

Remember to wash your hands when you return home and make sure that your children wash their hands when they leave the childcare setting. You can use alcohol gel can be used if they cannot wash their hands with soap and water.

If you are feeling anxious, try to remember that pregnant women are at no greater risk of contracting coronavirus or becoming seriously unwell than other healthy adults.

However, there are concerns for pregnant women in the third trimester. This is based on the challenges in caring for women who are heavily pregnant, and the risk of the baby needing to be born early for the woman’s wellbeing. 

Other pregnant women are also more like to be hospitalised with coronavirus, including women who:

Social distancing is even more important for these women.

Whose decision is it whether my children go back to school?

Ultimately, it is your decision whether you send your children back to school. The Department of Education has said that parents will not be penalised or fined if their children do not attend.

Many parents are feeling wary about sending their children back to school. If you are pregnant, you may be feeling particularly vulnerable. Try not feel under any pressure about what to do. Some parents are able to choose whether to send older children back to school (perhaps because they do not work and can care for their children at home) and some are not. Some parents are comfortable with the idea, others less so. 

If you have any concerns, it may be helpful to contact your childcare provider to find out what they have put in place to create a safe environment for both parents and children. It may also help to speak to your midwife about how you feel.

What is the advice for pregnant women who are classed as extremely vulnerable or who are shielding on older children attending school/nursery/external childcare?

Some pregnant women with pre-existing severe medical illnesses have been classed as extremely vulnerable and have been advised to shield. You will have been told this by your maternity team.

The government advice is that children and young people who live in a household with someone who is pregnant and shielding should only attend school/nursery/external childcare if stringent social distancing and hand hygiene, can be adhered to. The child or young person should also be able to understand and follow those instructions.

The government has provided advice for those who are staying at home and shielding

You can also find out more about government guidance about the reopening of education settings.

We're here to support you

Although we've had to temporarily close our support line as our midwives have moved to homeworking, our Tommy's midwives are still here to support you.

We are working hard to provide the best support and information we can during a time of extra anxiety and worry for pregnant women and their families.

Watch out for updates and contact us on the following platforms:

If you have non-urgent questions, we have developed Tommy's Midwife, a skill for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa that answers many pregnancy queries, including some about COVID-19.

Read more about the Tommy's Midwife Alexa skill here

Read more

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